Special K Ranch shares a unique perspective on marketing for a non-profit organization.
What is the one thing most people don’t know about Special K that you wish they did?
Special K Ranch provides life-long homes for adults, ages 18 and older, who have special needs. The ranch was founded with the vision of being a place its residents can call home forever. Homes on the ranch are modelled after a typical family home; only four residents live in each house, with the exception of our largest home, which houses eight residents. Through doing a wide variety of work on the ranch, residents constantly learn, enjoy the company of their friends, and build a sense of pride, self-worth and accomplishment.
What kinds of things do you do to communicate with supporters of the Special K Ranch?
We communicate with our supporters using newsletters, mailings and special events. We also conduct personal visits with our supporters to keep them connected with ranch activities. On occasion, we will do interviews on television and on the radio to promote events and special donations to the ranch.
What marketing efforts have you used that have been most effective in finding new supporters of Special K?
Our annual fundraising dinner and open house have proven very effective in finding new supporters. Many of our most generous supporters were introduced to the ranch by these events. Selling our products at the Yellowstone Valley Farmers Market and spring flower market is a great way to create and build relationships with members of the community. Also, the public gains awareness of the ranch because its produce and bedding plants are available at a variety of local grocery stores and hardware stores.
How have your marketing and communication strategies changed since you started in 1987?
Mostly, we have increased our reach to follow in-suit with growth of the ranch. When the ranch was founded, it served four residents in one resident home. The ranch now serves 31 residents in seven resident homes. In order to keep pace with this growth, we have built our database over the years to tell our story to a greater number of people.
What marketing mistakes (your own or others) has your organization learned from over the years?
We have learned to never underestimate the need to tell our story, time and time again, to the public. The ranch is often mistaken for other organizations in our community. You can never tell your organization’s story too many times.
How is your organization using online and social media to advance your marketing goals?
We use Facebook to let people know what’s going on at the ranch. Our page is frequently updated; it features the rancher of the month, highlights vocational and recreational activities, and provides special announcements to our followers. We also have a website where people can learn about our program, make contact with us, and give donations online.
What top 3 things do you attribute to your organization’s success?
- Dedication to our mission of providing family-oriented Christian homes, on a working ranch for adults who have developmental disabilities.
- Love and faith of our staff, residents and community. The ranch’s family-oriented setting also allows for the residents to love one another and their community. In turn, the community gives its love to the residents.
- Vocation: The growth of our vocational programs has been instrumental to our success. These programs are powerful learning tools for our residents and they also help us balance our budget.
“You can never tell your organization’s story too many times.”
What’s your best marketing tip for other non – profit organizations in our area?
Tell your story to as many people as you can, as often as you can. Because of the high density of nonprofits in our community, there is a great deal of competition. Tell your story often to find people who are passionate about your mission.
34 Special K Lane | Columbus, MT 59019